Morning Journal Article On Our April Luncheon

A joyful life and worthwhile conversation sparked the third annual Spring Luncheon in Avon sponsored by Margeau’s Free to Be Project.

The nonprofit organization is a volunteer effort to help women and girls redefine personhood in light of their value and worth.

“We encourage women and girls to help others and to reach out,” said Gail Stumphauzer, founder and director of Margeau’s Free to Be Project, found at

A sincere compliment or word of encouragement could save someone’s life, Stumphauzer says.

The spring luncheon, “A-B-Cs of J-O-Y,” is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 16 at Avon Isle, 37080 Detroit Road, Avon. Cost is $35 per person.

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The keynote speaker, Rita Abdallah of Avon Lake, helps others create a joyful and resilient life.

A social worker and founder of Turning Point Services Ltd., Abdallah speaks as an authority on happiness, cancer survivorship, work-life balance, grief recovery and conquering change.

Abdallah also co-founded Destination Hope to encourage individuals touched by cancer.

Stumphauzer, a former CEO of Leadership Lorain County, said she expects about 100 women at the luncheon.

“It’s meant to be more intimate than our conference in the fall, which has over 200 people,” she said. “We bring women together through creative conversations that are meaningful. 

“What I hear women saying, is in the past, they never had the opportunity to talk about things in a way that matters. I think people are amazed how much we have in common, even though we’re a very diverse group of people. We all have struggles. We all can lend support to others if given the opportunity.

“We encourage people to bring some people along to the event if they feel they could get something out of it.”

Volunteer opportunities at Margeau’s Free to Be Project include handling registrations, planning program speakers, going out to talk about the project and other tasks, depending on the gifts of volunteers, Stumphauzer said.

“We’re always happy to bring people on board to serve in any way they’re able,” she said.

Her daughter, Margeau, passed away at age 29 in 2011. The organization opens women’s hearts to messages of their personal worth beyond false messages received through media.

“When my daughter passed away, this became my job,” Stumphauzer said. “My role in this is all-volunteer. It’s an all-volunteer project.”

She gauges success from feedback after events.

“In my other job, you had to track the numbers and do the data,” Stumphauzer said. “This is an effort of the heart. When people bring other people, you know it touched their lives. Also, we get individual stories about the impact on people’s lives.”

A sixth annual Fall Conference is Oct. 15 at Spitzer Conference Center at Lorain County Community College, 1005 N. Abbe Road, Elyria. The topic is happiness, she said, and the keynote speaker is a founder and president of a global nonprofit organization headquartered in California.

However, for the luncheon, Stumphauzer said she envisions women connecting with others in meaningful ways.

“My encouragement is to come and bring your friends and family members and have a wonderful day,” she said.